From my window I can see my neighbours’ new car parked in their driveway. It’s a new model that I haven’t seen before. It has flower garlands decorating the front and an OM symbol painted on the windshield. This means they had a vahana (vehicle in Sanskrit) puja done, a special blessing done by a priest after a new car is purchased. This wards off the evil eye of envious neighbours and brings good luck on the roads.
Many car dealerships have their own in-house priests specially for this purpose. I see them lounging around in car showrooms dressed in saffron-coloured robes waiting for a new purchase to be made. The priest will bless the car and the driver by breaking a coconut, lighting camphor or incense, and chanting some prayers in Sanskrit. A small lime is placed in front of each tire and the driver then drives over them. I often see this happening in front of temples too.
Notice the limes in front of the tires! (Photo © The Hindu)
Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, is always the most important passenger in every car. He takes a prominent place on the dashboard, removing any obstacles on the road ahead and ensuring a safe journey!